Love the mosaic look but hate to spend the money for glass tiles and grout? Check out a cheaper and simpler alternative I created with scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. Adding a mosaic is a clever way to customize an existing piece of furniture or accessory.
Previously, I created a piece of mosaic wall decor but have since retired this piece since it no longer matches my living room. Using this mosaic method, I gave my plain, Parsons coffee table an update along with some Rub n Buff to add a metallic vibe. Sure, buying a new coffee table would’ve been easier, but it would’ve been boring. Learn how to do it after the jump.
Here’s a before shot of the coffee table and its surroundings. It was basic but too became too simple for my taste:
And the after:
The mosaic design coordinates with some of the other decor in my living room that’s Moroccan/Arabesque. I wanted a circular pattern to offset the angular energy of all the lines and corners in the room. I seek balance in my decor and find this to be a great approach. The infinity sign was perfect because of its shape, symbolism, and symmetry. I chose a pearly paper and silver for the background color to complement the cool, airy vibe in the room. I also love using metallics to create a sense of richness.
Here’s how to make your own:
*Coffee table or any other surface such as a canvas, table, plant stand, etc.
*Sheets of 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper (I used “Diamond” = a pearly, off-white paper with a linen-like texture)
*Rub n Buff in Silver Leaf (or any other color/paint you’d like as your background)
*Clean, old t-shirt or cotton rag
*Mod Podge (I used the Gloss formula)
*Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish in Clear Semi-Gloss
*Sandpaper (if using a wooden surface)
1. If your surface is wooden, sand it to prime it for your background or “grout” color. Clean the surface with the tack cloth to remove all debris/dust.
2. Apply a few coats of Rub n Buff in Silver Leaf (first sanding the wood) with the old t-shirt. Rub n Buff is a super way to make something over, as the process is self-explanatory. The tubes are small but a little bit goes a looong way.
3. Determine the size of your “tiles” and measure/cut from the sheets of scrapbook paper (I used one inch squares).
4. Arrange your pattern on the tabletop with the paper tiles. I started the design by arranging just one row of paper tiles on the table in a figure 8. The design isn’t truly symmetric, but I did use my ruler to make sure the first row was fairly even on both sides.
5. Once you are satisfied with your pattern and placement of the tiles, apply Mod Podge to the bottoms. (TIP: If you make a mistake, just wait for the Mod Podge to dry and then you can easily remove the tiles.)
After gluing the first row, I then added more rows on the outside of this figure, being sure to space the tiles to my liking before gluing them down. Repeat this process as far as possible to the outer edges of the table to allow the entire tiles to be glued to the surface.
6. Once you reach an edge where the entire tile won’t fit, cut the square to a proper size so it will fit on the surface.
7. Fill in the insides of the 8 with tiles, aiming to space each tile as evenly as possible. When you get to the innermost portion of the pattern, you won’t be able to space your tiles as evenly as the others. But that’s okay!
8. Once all Mod Podge on the bottoms of the tiles is dry, you can paint as many layers of Mod Podge as desired on the tops of the tiles and the table.
NOTE: with my table, I also applied thick layers of Mod Podge in the spaces between the tiles. I dig the water/glass-like effect that results from the glossy Mod Podge, but this step is optional. It took a lot if time to do but I because I use my coffee table for a lot of things, I wanted the tiles to be flush with the surface. (This is accomplished when you do a true mosaic with grout.)
9. To eliminate the stickiness of the Mod Podge and to further protect the table, you can now add a protective finish. I brushed 2 coats of the Minwax polycrylic finish to the mosaic and also to the sides of the table and legs. (Unfortunately, the Silver Leaf Rub n Buff is prone to slightly rub off on fingers if not protected.)
Once the finish is dry and set, you are good to go!